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Ipswich Town: How Greaves, Philogene and Delap would fit

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Ipswich Town are hopeful of signing Jacob Greaves, Jaden Philogene and Liam Delap – all of whom were at Hull last season – for a combined £50m. Stuart Watson takes a look at where they would fit in the squad.

JACOB GREAVES 

A tall, left-footed centre-back, it’s clear that Greaves will be competing with Cameron Burgess for a place in the Town side. So how do the two compare?

Both stand at 6ft 4in. Greaves won 157 aerial duels last season – the fifth most of any centre-back in the Championship. That puts him narrowly ahead of Cameron Burgess (sixth with 154). It’s also really close when you compare interceptions (49-44 to Burgess), clearances (187-177 to Greaves) and shots blocked (36-35 to Greaves).

 

In terms of goals, there’s not much between them either. Burgess has scored five times in three seasons for Ipswich, while Greaves has managed six in four campaigns for Hull. Both will probably feel they can chip in with more at set-pieces.

Where Greaves is different is that he might contribute to the build-up play more. He attempted 19 dribbles last season, compared to Burgess’ four. And he made 23 key passes compared to Burgess’ 10. Those numbers were helped by him having a few games at left-back though.

 

Former Tigers boss Grant McCann once said of a young Greaves: “He’s very calm on the ball. He knows when to step up. He knows when to hit the diagonal. He knows when to give it simple to a full-back or midfield player. He’s aggressive in his defending. He’s not afraid to put his body in.”

Greaves being able to fill in at left-back is an added bonus for Town. With new right-back recruit Ben Johnson also capable of playing on the left, Kieran McKenna might not need to go out and sign a specialist back-up for Leif Davis.

 

JADEN PHILOGENE 

Stylistically, the 22-year-old is in the same mould as Omari Hutchinson – quick, direct and skilful on the ball, plus dynamic and hard-working off it. He’s a lot of fun to watch.

Philogene was fifth in the Championship when it came to successful dribbles last season (87) and seventh for shots at goal (116). He scored 12 goals (including a sensational nutmeg/angled Rabona finish against Rotherham) and contributed five assists.

His out of possession game deserves a big mention too. When it comes to attacking players, he ranked eighth in the division for attempted tackles (72) and seventh for successful tackles (45).

Hutchinson played most of his football for Ipswich on the right wing last season. That gave him the opportunity to dart inside and get shots away off his stronger left foot. Philogene is the opposite of that. He’s a right-footer who has primarily played on the left.

Does McKenna plan to deploy them on each flank, perhaps allowing them to swap within games to bamboozle full-backs? There will be times, I’m sure, where he thinks that suits the game plan for specific opponents.

Wes Burns and Nathan Broadhead are alternative options for the flanks, of course, while Hutchinson could yet be used as an alternative to Conor Chaplin as the No.10. Delap, who I’ll come onto next, will be another option on the right.

 

McKenna, as we know, likes to have plenty of variety and depth in his attacking arsenal. As last season showed, the finishers are every bit as important as the starters.

 

LIAM DELAP 

The 21-year-old forward is another who ticks the versatile box. He started 26 Championship games for Hull last season – 18 of them came as a central striker, while eight were as a right-winger.

His super strength is his acceleration and strength. Out of possession, the 6ft 1in forward has the ability to quickly close down spaces, cut off passing angles and win the ball back. In possession, he can hold people off, drive into gaps and get shots/crosses away.

Blues boss Kieran McKenna will have looked beyond his baseline stats of eight goals and one assist last season and see the wider contribution to the team.

Speaking after Town’s 3-0 home win against Hull last October, McKenna said Delap was a big reason behind why he selected George Edmundson over Cameron Burgess in defence.

“I thought his qualities tonight against Liam Delap would be really important,” explained the Blues boss. “There are not many more powerful runners than George so we thought we’d put him up against one of the more powerful runners in the league.”

Speaking back in December, then Hull boss Liam Rosenior said of Delap: “I think Liam’s consistency is improving. He’s getting better and better and better.

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